Bradley in Hollywood

By Frank Radosevich II
June 8, 2012

Aspiring actors, directors and writers often head to Hollywood in the hopes of making it big in the world of show businesses. Though it can be a challenge for even the best in the entertainment world, landing a spot on the red carpet just got easier for six Bradley students.

The students were the first crop of Bradley undergraduates to complete the Hollywood Semester, an intense, residential semester-long program that took place this spring in Los Angeles.

“I met a lot of people out there who could help get me a job when I graduate in December,” said Ryan Austin, a senior in public relations and one of the six students enrolled in the program. “There are actually a lot of Bradley alumni in Hollywood who are willing to meet up with you and let you pick their brains on their experiences.”

The program, conducted at The University of Texas at Austin’s hub in Burbank, Calif., offers students interested in the entertainment industry a mix of coursework and hands-on opportunities to learn about the business, career options and networking. It is open to all Bradley students and offered each semester as well as the summer. Application information can be found at the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts website.

Austin said he plans on moving to Southern California early next year to pursue a career in entertainment public relations. During his semester, Austin interned at Jim Henson Television, the television production arm of The Jim Henson Co., and Scott Free Productions, a production group founded by the renowned filmmaker Ridley Scott.

While working at Scott Free, Austin helped on the set of two music videos. The hours were lengthy but valuable.

“I went in at 6 a.m. and left about 9 p.m. It was a long day but I had a lot of fun. They had me doing a little bit of everything,” Austin said. “Just being on set was a great experience and I’d love to get more experiences like that.”

During the semester, students take nine hours of coursework and complete three hours of internship work. Classes focus on the business, operational and creative components of the entertainment industry and were taught by professionals. The courses also featured guest speakers from various areas of show businesses along with visits to major Hollywood studios and production houses.

“It taught me about the actual jobs in the industry,” Kyle Nagel ’12 said about his classes in film development and new media. “It was cool to have some actually involved in the industry telling us examples of coming movies and how they marketed them.”

Nagel, an interactive media major, said just being in Southern California was a big boost to learning about the entertainment industry. While there, he worked alongside professionals and was able to ask questions and hear their stories.

“You learned a lot about the professionalism and perfectionism that you need in the industry. It’s a definite investment in your future,” he said of the Hollywood Semester.

Chris Radford, an electronic media major who graduated this month, worked for the Screen Actors Guild Awards as a production assistant and bonded with his roommates when they shot and produced their own short film over 12 hours.

“It helped me learn what I wanted to do. I had all of these ideas of what it would be like working there and it wasn’t at all what I thought it was,” he said. “Being out there, that’s what counts.”